Bart M. : Three years after the release of their debut album 'Grusom', Danish rockers of the eponymously named band are back with its successor, an album that is surprisingly called 'Grusom II'. The name, Danish for 'cruel', and the cover art, showing two shackled, skeletal hands holding a triangular symbol, do not give us the promise of a very cheerful ride, and both the music and the lyrics connect with that idea in a good way.
'Grusom II' elaborates on what the band started with their debut album: solid seventies rock music, but with a modern sound and production. We hear the raw, almost hoarse vocals of singer Nicolaj Jul that are constantly accompanied by an interaction of Hammond organ and guitars, all of this assisted by a well organized rhythm section. I needed to get used to the voice, because initially it reminded me of Jim Morrison, but after a couple of songs I noticed it started sounding familiar in its own way and I realized that it is this unique voice that carries most of the tunes. The organ is also very typical for Grusom's sound, and because it is such an integral part of all of the songs it can be a bit overwhelming.
The songs paint a number of not so pretty pictures, about a world that is changing in quite a negative way and the longing for a time when things used to be better. This is what makes this album a very clear snapshot of the things that we are dealing with here in 2018. With titles as 'Dead End Valley' and 'Cursed From Birth' you know exactly what to expect and pretty soon you find yourself on a journey through bleak but realistic mindscapes, with the occasional melancholic sidetrip, like in the Danish song 'Vågn Op' ('wake up!!'). The music all fits together quite nicely and remains both interesting and surprising the entire album through. The more lengthier songs, especially 'Skeletons', allow the band to showcase that they know exactly what they are doing by telling a wonderful story in an original way in the style of some of the legendary Uriah Heep songs, slowly building up to an explosive climax and halfway through the song a delightful organ-guitarsolo. 'Grusom II' is a great album, both for the lovers of old rock and for those who prefer to listen to something a little heavier.